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Page last updated at 08:36 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 09:36 UK
Electronic cigarettes on the rise
By Briar Burley
Newsbeat reporter


Smokers try out the electronic cigarettes in a pub

A growing number of pubs are selling electronic cigarettes to get around the smoking ban, Newsbeat has discovered.

The new gadget is claimed to taste and feel just like the real thing, but it is legal to smoke indoors.

If you're one of thousands of smokers made to shiver outside when you want a fag, it seems help is on its way.

More and more pub landlords are stocking up on electronic cigarettes to try to win back punters unhappy about having to go outside to light up.

The metal tubes look a bit like a cross between a cigarette and a pen.

They contain liquid nicotine and when you inhale on them the end lights up.

That gives you a hit of liquid nicotine and then you breath out water vapour, which looks like smoke.

Pub alternative

The Butlers Arms in Birmingham is one of the first pubs to start selling them.

Richard's a regular and is fed up with the smoking ban.

He said: "I can't believe how annoying it is. You know you keep going outside, winter's coming and it's getting colder. I'd prefer to say inside and smoke."

Electronic cigarette
The Electronic Cigarette is a device which imitates a regular cigarette

We asked him to give the electronic cigarette a go.

He said: "It's certainly not like smoking a fag. It feels as if you're getting a hit of nicotine but no smoke."

Landlord Chris decided to start selling electronic cigarettes as an alternative for his customers who smoke.

He said: "I saw this thing advertised, and what with winter coming, it seemed like a good idea.

"The front bit's the battery. The middle bit's the electronic gubbins and the bit that you stick in your mouth is the bit that contains the nicotine.

"We've sold a few. I think about 10."

Health worries

It costs 35 pounds to buy a starter park and 4 for refills after that.

But there are worries about the health impact of smoking electronic cigarettes.

The World Health Organisation say they don't think enough tests have been done on them and they're worried using them could be bad for your health.

But retailers argue they're much safer than smoking tobacco.

Jason Cropper is from The Electronic Cigarette Company.

He said: "People still feel that they're smoking.

"It's not perfectly healthy but they're doing it in a much healthier way. It's a new generation of smoking."

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